By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on October 11, 2019 from Las Vegas, Nevada at T-Mobile Arena
The following pool of wrestlers are eligible to be drafted during tonight’s Smackdown: Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson, Bray Wyatt, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Sasha Banks, Ricochet, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, The Viking Raiders, The Revival, Natalya, The Street Profits, Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Humberto Carrillo, Akira Tozawa, Sin Cara Eric Young, EC3, Chad Gable, Heath Slater, Drew Gulak, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, and Tamina.
[Hour One] The opening video played with the AC/DC theme… Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary, and Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer…
1. WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns in a non-title match to determine which brand gets the first pick in the draft. Rollins represented Raw, and Reigns represented Smackdown. Cole and Graves said the executives from Fox and USA Network were making the draft decisions for Smackdown and Raw respectively. Cole claimed viewers may never see Rollins vs. Reigns again (um, sure).
The wrestlers bumped fists to start the match. Rollins set up for an early suicide dive, but Reigns caught him with a forearm from ringside. Reigns went for his Drive By, but Rollins avoided it. Both men got back inside the ring and went nose to nose. Reigns shoved Rollins, who responded by punching him. Reigns fired back with an uppercut. Reigns dumped Rollins to ringside heading into a break. [C]
Reigns hit a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall coming out of the break. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Rollins pulled him face first into a turnbuckle pad. Rollins sent Reigns to ringside and then hit him with two suicide dives before sending him back inside the ring. Rollins performed a springboard flying knee. Rollins went up top and frogsplashed Reigns for a good near fall just before the 10:00 mark.
Reigns avoided the Stomp and punched Rollins, who responded with a kick. They traded punches and kicks again and then Rollins performed a Buckle Bomb, but Reigns shot out of the corner with a Superman Punch that led to a two count. Reigns let out a war cry and went for a spear, but Rollins countered into a Pedigree for a good near fall. Rollins set up for the Stomp.
The lights went out and then “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt popped up through the ring and applied a Mandible Claw. Wyatt pulled Rollins into the hole in the ring. “He’s dragging Rollins to hell,” Cole said. The lights turned on. Smoke shot out of the hole in the ring, then Rollins crawled back into the ring. Wyatt stuck his head out of the hole. The lights went out again and the Wyatt laugh track played. The next shot showed Wyatt standing on the stage with a strobe light. The lights went out again and the fans cheered as they show went to break. [C]
Powell’s POV: Was that the match finish? I have no idea what’s happening. I understand the idea of not wanting to give a clean finish to Rollins vs. Reigns, but I thought we’d get an actual finish. Maybe we still will?
Seth Rollins beat Roman Reigns by DQ.
Graves and Cole said Raw was on the clock because Rollins won the match by disqualification. They showed a graphic that included the pool of wrestlers who are eligible to be drafted. They noted that for every two picks that Smackdown gets, Raw gets three. Tag teams count as one pick unless Fox or USA want to pick one wrestler from the team. Any undrafted wrestlers will be free agents and are free to sign with whichever brand they choose…
Stephanie McMahon was introduced and came out to be a flat reaction. “No booing?” Stephanie asked before saying the fans were disappointing her. Some fans booed.
Becky Lynch was announced as Raw’s first selection.
Roman Reigns was announced as Smackdown’s first pick.
The OC trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson were announced as Raw’s second pick.
Bray Wyatt was named the second pick of Smackdown.
Drew McIntyre was selected as Raw’s third pick.
A graphic listed the various moves, which were all labeled first-round picks. They showed a shot of the “Fox War Room” which featured people (and the robot mascot) cheering after the Reigns pick was made…
Renee Young hosted a panel at a desk set up on the main floor. Young was joined by Booker T, Samoa Joe, and Beth Phoenix. Booker said the guys in the Fox boardroom made the pick and he knew it would be Reigns. Phoenix praised the pick of Lynch by USA/Raw…
King Corbin made his entrance. Corbin spoke as he walked to the ring and told the fans that it didn’t matter if he ended up on Raw or Smackdown, he would be a benevolent king who would share his riches with the fans. Corbin laughed and said he wouldn’t give any of the fans anything. “Shorty Gable” vs. Baron Corbin was shown in a graphic as coming up after the break… [C]
Fox’s top NFL broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman appeared in an obviously pre-taped segment. Aikman said he would use the piledriver as a finisher. Footage of Undertaker performing a tombstone piledriver was shown…
Powell’s POV: Hey, they announced an actual finish. Good for them. I’m not the least bit surprised that Lynch was the first overall pick. I’m actually surprised they didn’t have her come out to address it before they moved on. Meanwhile, really, he’s officially Shorty Gable? Awful. The Buck and Aikman segment was completely worthless. Aikman typically sings the praises of Hulk Hogan whenever Smackdown comes up during his NFL games because he knows him from when they teamed up for a Rent-A-Center commercial. He seems to genuinely like Hogan, whereas he looked completely disinterested in this segment.
2. King Corbin vs. Shorty Gable. Gable was introduced as Shorty Gable. The wrestlers fought to ringside. Corbin dumped Gable onto the broadcast table. Gable dove at Corbin, who chokeslammed him onto the table at 2:30. [C]
Gable hit a moonsault on Corbin for a near fall. Gable applied an ankle lock a short time later. Corbin tried to kick himself free, but Gable held on. Gable eventually gave up the hold for a pin attempt that failed. Corbin came right back with End of Days for the clean pin…
King Corbin beat Shorty Gable in 9:25.
Powell’s POV: I just can’t take Gable seriously now that they’ve officially named him Shorty. If reincarnation actually exists and there’s any justice in the universe, Vince McMahon will come back and be nicknamed “Little Dick” in his next lifetime.
The crew from the Fox NFL Sunday James Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan, and Tony Gonzalez checked in. They spoke about their favorite wrestlers, which included Dusty Rhodes, Killer Kowalski, Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, and others…
Stephanie McMahon came out to announce the “second round” picks.
Randy Orton to Raw.
Sasha Banks to Smackdown.
Ricochet to Raw.
Braun Strowman to Smackdown.
Bobby Lashley to Raw.
The broadcast team wondered if Lana would follow Lashley to Raw. The USA Network war room showed people celebrating. The Draft panel checked in again… A video package aired on the Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury feud…
Strowman was shown smiling while talking on a phone backstage. They cut to a shot of Tyson Fury, who was shadow boxing while talking with some random guy. The broadcast team hyped Strowman vs. Fury for WWE Crown Jewel (in SAUDI ARABIA)… [C]
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Cole said Cain Velasquez took the UFC Championship from Lesnar and now he wants to take the WWE Championship from him at Crown Jewel. Heyman introduced himself and Lesnar.
[Hour Two] Heyman said a normal human being has a fear and when confronted by it, the normal human being shakes and quivers and has nightmares about their fears (like that wuss Seth Rollins?).
Heyman recalled Velasquez beating Lesnar to win the UFC Championship. Heyman said Lesnar has never made an excuse for it because there is no excuse for it and that’s because of the type of fighter that Velasquez is.
Heyman said Lesnar embraces and conquers his fears. Heyman said Lesnar will conquer the nightmare of his past by beating Velasquez at Crown Jewel. Heyman was about to deliver the “spoiler” line when he was interrupted by Rey Mysterio’s entrance music.
Cain Velasquez and Rey Mysterio walked onto the stage. Mysterio said they forgot to show some footage. Cole narrated still shots of Velasquez bloodying and beating Lesnar to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship on October 23, 2010. Velasquez spoke in Spanish. Mysterio translated by saying that Velasquez will give Lesnar a matching scar on the other side of his face…
New Day was shown backstage. Kofi Kingston was holding a plate of pancakes while Big E delivered their introduction heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The actual fight footage would be nice, but the bloody still shots tell a great story for anyone who hasn’t seen the fight. Meanwhile, I guess Kingston’s character is sticking with the “power of positivity” line because he was his usual happy go lucky self and you’d never think he lost the WWE Championship to Lesnar in embarrassingly quick fashion just one week ago.
The Fox Sports college sports pre-game team of Brady Quinn, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Urban Meyer checked in. Meyer spoke about what he looks for in a player, while the other three recalled their NFL Draft experience…
New Day stood on the stage where a podium held two pink championship belts while Cole plugged the breast cancer charity. A video package aired. Kingston said they take the power of positivity slogan seriously and are proud to be part of the fight against breast cancer. They introduced two breast cancer survivors. Xavier Woods said they had the pleasure to meet both women a few years ago. He said they saw their ups and downs and highs and lows and they are two of the strongest people they’ve ever met and they are proud of both women. Woods presented the women with the pink title belts. New Day excuses themselves and headed to the ring for their six-man tag match…
3. “New Day” Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods vs. “The OC” AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson. Cole emphasized that there was no longer a wild card rule in play coming out of this draft. Gallows booted Woods in the head. Anderson ran Woods into the ring steps heading into a break. [C] In the end, Kingston hit Styles with Trouble In Paradise and pinned him…
“New Day” Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods defeated “The OC” AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson in 6:50.
Powell’s POV: I wonder if this means that Kingston’s landing spot will be chasing Styles for the U.S. Championship. If so, that means New Day, or at least Kingston, would be Raw bound.
The broadcast team recapped The Fiend attacking Seth Rollins in the opening match, which resulted in a DQ finish that gave Raw the first pick of Becky Lynch…
Stephanie McMahon returned to the stage to announce “round three” of the first night of the draft.
Alexa Bliss to Raw (the Fox war room was shown with the reps looking upset).
Lacey Evans to Smackdown.
Kevin Owens to Raw.
The Revival to Smackdown.
Natalya to Raw (the USA Network war room was shown celebrating).
A graphic of round three was shown. Cole reminded viewers that Raw gets three picks to Smackdown’s two picks because Raw is a three-hour show while Smackdown is a two-hour show…
Charlotte Flair was shown stretching backstage while Graves hyped her Smackdown Women’s Championship defense against Bayley for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, at least WWE finally strayed from their pre-draft pool list. In an embarrassing move, the first ten picks were made in the same order as they were listed for the pool of wrestlers eligible to be drafted on Smackdown. Ouch.
Stephanie McMahon was on the stage again for the four and final round of night one of the draft.
The Viking Raiders to Raw.
Lucha House Party to Smackdown.
Nikki Cross to Raw.
Heavy Machinery to Smackdown.
The Street Profits to Raw.
Powell’s POV: So the USA executives could have drafted Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross together, but they wasted a pick by drafting them separately? Sigh.
The draft panel checked in. Booker T played up Ricochet staying on Raw… Charlotte Flair made her entrance… [C]
Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer checked in from the Fox’s Sunday morning show set and played up the possibility of a blockbuster trade and some of the wrestlers still available. He acted like he got a phone call that would contain a scoop, but it was his mother…
The broadcast team hyped Tyson Fury while his credentials were shown in graphic form along with some mainstream media headlines. Cole noted that Fury will face Strowman at Crown Jewel (and he actually mentioned Saudi Arabia)… Cole and Graves narrated still shots of Charlotte beating Bayley to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell…
Bayley walked onto the stage sporting shorter hair and new gold and black gear. She picked up a weapon and destroyed the wacky waving inflatable tube men before heading to the ring…
4. Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Flair dumped Bayley to ringside during the opening minute and tossed her over the ringside barricade. When Flair tried to drag Bayley back over the barricade, Bayley caught her with a punch and then worked her over. Bayley slammed the back of Flair’s head into the ring steps heading into an early break. [C]
Flair suffered a cut at some point after the break. Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly on Flair and got a near fall. Bayley bickered with the referee about his count. Flair went for a top rope moonsault. Bayley put her knees up, but Flair landed on her feet. Flair applied a Boston Crab, then turned Bayley over and went for a Figure Four, but Bayley kicked her face first into a turnbuckle. Bayley covered Flair and used the ropes for leverage while getting a two count.
Bayley hit a top rope elbow for another two count. Bayley got up and laid into the referee again, then threw a tantrum. Flair got up and hit the Natural Selection and then went for a Figure Four, but Bayley countered into an inside cradle for the three count…
Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair in 11:35 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Cole noted that the draft will continue on Raw and 40 wrestlers will be eligible to be drafted. Bayley took the mic and said, “Hey, bitches, screw all of you.” Bayley dropped the mic and then posed with her title belt…
Powell’s POV: Is Flair the new Sasha Banks in that she can win the title but can’t successfully defend it? Nah, they love padding her title count and apparently don’t think the fans see through it. That said, Bayley going over was the right move on the night that she debuted her new look and attitude. It’s nice to see the character move on, but I’ll never wrap my mind around just how badly Vince McMahon botched a readymade babyface star handed to him by the NXT brand.
Overall, I felt completely numb to the draft. WWE should be embarrassed that they stuck to the order the wrestlers were listed in the Smackdown draft pool for the first ten picks, but the bigger problem is that they played so fast and loose with the wild card rule that none of these moves feel impactful. The use of Fox Sports personalities was mostly corny, and somehow the war room shots of supposed Fox and USA Network executives was even cornier. Cleatus the f—ing Fox robot? Really? Hopefully the company will show some discipline and adhere to the rules of their own brand split so that the next draft actually feels meaningful. I will be back later tonight with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...